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Mysterious growth and investments of a business conglomerate

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28th-Nov-2017       
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THE government has been reported to look into the records of funds and loans taken by Chittagong-based business conglomerate S Alam Group, the Finance Minister confirmed it on last Friday. In recent years, the Chittagong-based business house has drawn enormous attention, especially in the financial market, after taking over several banks through buying shares from the stock market. The latest was the takeover of Social Islami Bank on October 31 this year. The Group bought around 50 percent stakes of the bank. It has spent over Tk 1,000 crore to buy around 37 crore shares of the bank at market price.

Earlier in January this year, the business house strengthened its grip on Islami Bank Bangladesh, the largest private bank in the country, by purchasing a significant portion of its shares. Moreover, it has allegedly bought shares of the bank in the name of seven companies - some of which merely exist on papers.

Though the government was rather late to have notice the business group's unusual investments, but what was its monitoring and regulatory authorities concerned doing while S Alam Group kept buying large number of shares of a number of private and public banks? In fact, this is only the jaw-dropping revelations of one of the many questionable business conglomerates that have become gigantic in terms of abnormal investments in today's Bangladesh. The S Alam issue over abnormal financial growth and investments has become so controversial that the findings would be reported to the Prime Minister for her intervention.

The sad truth is -- handful corporate houses are monopolizing our financial market and the banking sector - it must be stopped right away. Needs be mentioned, these conglomerates are not playing any role in job creation, manufacturing or exporting but have apparently become a syndicate of dubious money-makers. With the help of certain bureaucrats, bankers and experts their chain - in - command is often blessed with silent support of corrupt politicians. The government should take immediate note of the bizarre developments of companies in the likes of S Alam Group and others, and prevent them from operating and growing. If not, these companies may well take the financial sector hostage any time soon.

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